It's 2020 - "Some" Allowed to Celebrate Juneteenth as a Newly Adopted State Holiday for the 1st Time
I'll begin with how I am feeling....WOW! I think transparency is key to simply express having to pinch and remind myself of what century we are actually living in. After the pinch, I then come to myself and am sadly reminded of the fact that we have not come as far as society would want us to portray, and we have NOT fully overcome either. I do rejoice with those of you who have jobs that actually carried the compassion and heartbeat to actually enact and grant you the paid State Holiday today. Many big businesses and organizations received pandemic CARES Act funds anyway (whether truly paying you with them or not), while some law abiding taxpaying citizens received just $1200. As the old folks would say, "you can't wipe your rear end with that", sadly as majority women and minorities begin to face evictions as the CARES Act eviction moratoriums expire. The like, unfairly sets these groups up for an even steeper upstream swim against the current in the coming days/months/years/decades.
As I think about today, Juneteenth in the year of 2020 which is 157 years since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and all the ancient hatred that still rages in our Country and beyond, it is clear that the scales of justice still do NOT fairly balance for ALL
of mankind. Even then it was not until December 1865 that slaves in Texas were actually freed and/or made aware of their freedom. That was basically another 2 1/2 years of free labor. I say another because prior to that, African Americans had already been forcefully enslaved for 244 years. The first slave ship was docked in Jamestown, VA in 1619 with chained Africans in tow.
Many of the Africans in tow were from regions where they were kings and queens, just as the Native Indians were chiefs and a resourceful people. Many who do not know African American History (because it is not rightfully taught at all in schools, but I'll chop that up in another blog), might ask why the slaves did not just leave in 1863? Well, as I explained to my daughter there was no cell phone and social media for them to communicate and it is apparent that post civil war the State officials and slave owners were not in a hurry to notify nor let them go. Slavery was all they knew as it was what they were forcefully born into and many times torn away from their families and sold to other plantations. They were not allowed to learn or read, which was a major means of control. I solute the backs, blood, sweat, and tears of my African American ancestors that was shed over the generations and the perseverance of the survivors of slavery allowing me and my family to exist today.
Slavery was free and unwilling labor for which payment was and still is owed in our Country. Many try to dispute that fact; however, Special Field Orders No. 15 (post Civil War promise) proclaimed on January 16, 1865 by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman proves different. The noted Special Order promised to allot family units (freed slaves) a plot of land (maximum 40 acres) and a mule. Centuries of ancestors were killed and died with premature lifespans within the chains of slavery. The love of God that I know, never intended for any one sector of people to be enslaved, if so He could have easily ensured that those specific people were placed in chains inside their mother's wombs but He did not. Centuries of motherless and fatherless enslaved children provided no opportunity for generational wealth. The enslaved were eventually "physically" freed but placed within the chains of poverty and despair.
The cycle of constantly swimming upstream against the current in life never ended with the abolishment of slavery because any and everything the Africans acquired and built that was prosperous was either stolen (even if a systemic law is put in place to make theft appear legal, it does not negate it being theft) or burned to the ground without the existence of any sort of justice. The month of June also represents a time to remember the 1921 Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood District. It was a very affluent African American community of thriving professionals and businesses that was destroyed and over 35 city blocks burned to the ground. Many were murdered (300), injured (800), without any scale of justice to be found. Supposedly, the violence stemmed from the defense of white female virtue. I digress, and must say that such anger, rage, and egregiously barbaric actors were simply in search for a reason to do what they plotted and wanted to do. It sounds like white female virtue was simply the stamp placed on it to enrage the masses of towns people to take part.
Does that story resemble a white woman in a state park with her dog who recently threatened to call the police on an African American male that was bird watching, and tell them he was threatening her? It is that same mindset of white privileged power that we still witness today, that is knowingly exercised to get black/brown people murdered, beaten, abused, and wrongfully jailed. I'll take it a bit further for you. Does that story resemble that of a carpenter born in a Bethlehem manger, who was never accepted in His own land, and was crucified/massacred at the age of 33? A few of Jesus' last words were, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". When Jesus healed the Roman soldier's ear that Peter had cut off, the soldier had an awakening moment, yet did not attempt to stop the violence raging towards Jesus. The dragged him through the streets and humiliated and publicly hung him to incite fear throughout the land. Does that also sound familiar? There were many who knew better along the way but they chose not to speak up and rallied with the masses while dangerously driven by seemingly privileged power and control. Pontius Pilate washed his hands after ordering the crucifixion of Jesus because he knew better and his wife had foretold a dream of revelation. Does not seem to be much hand washing (soul washing / repentance) these days as the hearts of many remains so cold.
Is this still our America in the year 2020? Let's face it as a "United" States, so that our Pledge of Allegiance actually carries the meaning and action behind what it says, "...with liberty and justice for ALL". And why are the States allowing confederate statues to seem more important than the trauma they incite upon human beings? Those statues are no different than Jesus and our enslaved ancestors being hung up in public to inflict fear and more trauma to one set of people. God is calling America to end the oppression of systemic racism that saturates with blood the foundational fabric of our Nation and the roadmap towards who He desires us all to be and become.